WTF Denver #2 – Don’t Grow Cannabis Outside in Denver!

WTF Denver #2: Growing Cannabis Outside

Written By Warren Edson & Edited by Lauren Maytin

In our ongoing WTF Denver series … we now look at … Growing Cannabis Outside.


If you grow marijuana outside in Denver and get caught they will charge you criminally and file forfeiture paperwork on your house.

All it takes is 1 plant.  Denver doesn’t care!

It can be medicinal, recreational, or both. It can be behind a fence.  It can be behind a wall. It can be growing in a place where no one can see it unless they come into your back yard. Denver doesn’t care!

Denver Municipal Code Section §38-178(D) says: It shall be unlawful for any person, alone or in concert with other persons, to cultivate marijuana outside of a completely enclosed structure.

Denver Municipal Code Section §37-50(c)(3) defines outdoor grows as a “Public Nuisance” and as a public nuisance, Chapter 37 of the Denver Municipal Code also allows them to take property where a “public nuisance” violation has occurred.


So yes, 1 plant, outdoors, and Denver can seize your house.


Here is how it happens:

  • Somehow … Denver finds out about a back-yard cannabis grow.
  • Denver police charge the person living in the home with a municipal violation and a fine of $100.
  • The person charged accepts the offer, enters a plea, and pays the $100 fine.
  • The City then files a Civil Forfeiture action against the property based upon the guilty plea to growing outdoors.
  • In exchange for not taking the house they require you to:
    1. not have marijuana on the property for at least two years,
    2. allow them to search your house at any time for the same two years period, and
    3. Permit Denver to pre-approve any renters or purchasers of the property during that two-year period.


Cliff Notes Version: Even if no one can see it, even if it is medicinal cannabis, even if it is only 1 plant … if you grow outside in Denver – it is a public nuisance and they can seize your house.

Oh yea…….. and there is no innocent owner defense.  That means if you rent the house as a landlord and your tenant grows 1 plant outdoors, the City of Denver can still seize your house EVEN IF YOU HAD NO IDEA IT WAS HAPPENING.

WTF Denver?